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Angel in the House   By: (1823-1896)

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In "Angel in the House," Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore offers readers a captivating exploration of love, marriage, and gender roles that challenges societal norms of the Victorian era. Patmore's poetic observations and thought-provoking prose invite readers on a journey through the complexities of intimate relationships, shedding light on the concept of the idealized Victorian woman – the archetypal "angel in the house."

Throughout the book, Patmore beautifully renders an image of the ideal woman; a selfless and devoted creature who effortlessly revolves around her family's needs, her husband's desires, and the domestic sphere. Patmore's prose delves into the sacrifices, virtues, and saintly qualities attributed to women, craftily illustrating the intricate dynamics of marriage and the silent power of femininity.

In a time when women were expected to maintain a passive role, Patmore challenges societal expectations. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing women as capable of deep intellectual and emotional insight, capable of shaping the destiny of the household. Though this book is set within the context of the Victorian era, many of the issues it explores remain relevant today, making it both a compelling historical document and a thought-provoking contemporary read.

As the narrative unfolds, Patmore demonstrates a keen understanding of the intricate workings of human relationships, particularly within the context of marriage. Through mesmerizing descriptions and poignant anecdotes, he delves deep into the intimate lives of husbands and wives, exploring the delicate balance of power and vulnerability. With a timeless relevance, Patmore's words resonate, forcing readers to question their own beliefs about love and marriage.

However, "Angel in the House" is not without its criticisms. Some readers may find the prose overly indulgent in its romanticization of women and may take issue with Patmore's portrayal of the saintly ideal. Some might argue that his vision of femininity perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes, disregarding women's agency and independence. While it is crucial to approach the book with a critical eye, it is also essential to appreciate the historical context in which it was written.

Overall, "Angel in the House" captures the essence of love, marriage, and femininity during the Victorian era, showcasing Patmore's keen observations and poetic mastery. It is a book that invites readers to reflect on the societal expectations placed upon women and the complexities of intimate relationships. Despite its flaws, this thought-provoking read is sure to leave a lasting impact on those who venture into its pages.

First Page:



There could be but one answer to the suggestion of Mr. Coventry Patmore that his "Angel in the House" might usefully have a place in this "National Library." The suggestion was made with the belief that wide and cheap diffusion would not take from the value of a copyright library edition, while the best use of writing is fulfilled by the spreading of verse dedicated to the sacred love of home. The two parts of the Poem appeared in 1854 and 1856, were afterwards elaborately revised, and have since obtained a permanent place among the Home Books of the English People. Our readers will join, surely, in thanks to the author for the present he has made us.

H. M.





'Mine is no horse with wings, to gain The region of the spheral chime; He does but drag a rumbling wain, Cheer'd by the coupled bells of rhyme; And if at Fame's bewitching note My homely Pegasus pricks an ear, The world's cart collar hugs his throat, And he's too wise to prance or rear.'


Thus ever answer'd Vaughan his Wife, Who, more than he, desired his fame; But, in his heart, his thoughts were rife How for her sake to earn a name. With bays poetic three times crown'd, And other college honours won, He, if he chose, might be renown'd, He had but little doubt, she none; And in a loftier phrase he talk'd With her, upon their Wedding Day, (The eighth), while through the fields they walk'd, Their children shouting by the way... Continue reading book >>

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